Lamar Grable’s family, friends remember 20-year-old man, allegedly executed 20 yrs. ago by Detroit cops Eugene Brown, Vicki Yost, still on the loose
Brown also killed Rodrick Carrington, Jr., Darren Miller, wounded 9 more; Brown convicted by own testimony at civil trial, Lamar’s “day in court”
Lamar’s legacy: founding of Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and summer of 2000: uprisings against police killings in Detroit
By Diane Bukowski
September 26, 2016
DETROIT– Dozens turned out at a vacant lot on Field on Detroit’s east side Sept. 21, where Lamar Grable, youth entrepreneur, musician and activist, took his last breath at the age of 20, gunned down by three-time killer cop Eugene Brown aided by his partner Vicki Yost in 1996 as he returned home from a church social.
Eugene Brown, a three-time killer cop, was never charged or fired despite recommendations made in an internal Detroit police study known as the “Shoulders Report.” He has since retired.
Vicki Yost was rewarded with a series of DPD promotions, then left to become Inkster’s police chief. She left that department after the near-fatal beating of Detroit autoworker Floyd Dent by Inkster cop William “Robocop” Melendez, a long-time DPD veteran who committed murder and mayhem throughout southwest Detroit. The vicious beating of Dent, caught on police dashcam video, created a national scandal. Melendez was sentenced to 1-10 years, but the Michigan Department of Corrections independently commuted that to a short stay in boot camp.
“There were tons of witnesses to how they killed my son,” Arnetta Grable, who had rushed to the scene immediately, said. “Youths in the neighborhood said Vicki Yost ran up on him first from behind and fired multiple shots. Lamar said, ‘I’ve been shot, don’t shoot me anymore,’ but then Brown came up on him from the front, knelt over him and flipped him over and said ‘Oh, shit’ because he realized Lamar was not the guy they were chasing. People watching from their windows in the apartment building next to the field said Brown than shot him three times in the chest. Dr. Werner Spitz called it an ‘execution’ during the civil trial.”
Grable said Lamar was a talented, activist young man with no criminal involvement. He spent the last seven years of his life living with his father Herman Vallery at a house close to where he was killed.
“He was very artistic, he would draw cartoons and portraits,” Grable said. “He played the violin, keyboards and flute. He went to Cass Technical High School. He was the kind of kid that liked to help people. He started Y.E.S., the Young Entrepreneur System, to teach youth how to start their own businesses. He opened up a photography studio, and he was a youth recruiter for the NAACP.”
Throughout the memorial, Grable cousin Ven barbecued free refreshments for everyone at the event and for the community at large. He also took long-range photographs featured in this story with his camera.
Brown and Yost claimed Grable had a gun and struggled with Brown, shooting him twice in his bullet-proof vest. Yost, who testified at the civil trial of Brown, admitted to taking the gun HOME with her overnight before turning it in. At that trial, experts testified that bullet-holes in Brown’s vest did not confirm any such struggle, instead that Brown had fired them himself.
World renowned forensic pathologist Werner Spitz testified that Brown “executed” Grable as he lay on the ground, shooting him in the chest.
A jury awarded Grable’s family $4 million seven years after the suit was filed due to constant court delays. It was upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court later, largely because Brown admitted, “I MAY have shot him three times in the chest while he was on the ground.”
During the intervening years, Arnetta Grable and her family spearheaded the founding of “Parents Against Police Brutality,” later re-named the “Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality,” on Sept. 22, 1997. she said. The Coalition grew at a rapid pace after a public hearing on police killings in Detroit in front of Detroit City Council in 1998, where dozens more stepped forward to talk about killings, brutality and frame-ups by Detroit police. In 2000, this reporter broke the Brown killings story, headlined “Serial Killer Kops” in the Michigan Citizen.
David Ashenfelter, Suzette Hackney and Joe Swickard of the Detroit Free Press followed up, eventually revealing that Detroit had the highest rate of police killings in the country as of 2000. (See link below story.)
Massive protests followed as cops continued to kill that year, including cop David Krupinski’s killing of a deaf man with a rake, Errol Shaw, and the police slaughter of autoworker Dwight Turner as he stood on his porch shooting at a dangerous dog. The community demanded that Police Chief Benny Napoleon and then Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer resign. Napoleon was ousted from office later, and Archer declined to run again in 2001, after the massive Cincinnati rebellion against the police murder of Timothy Thomas, 19, and dozens of other Black men.
Arnetta Grable said she went to meet then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in Washington, D.C., camping out in her office lobby overnight, pajamas and all, until she agreed to see her. The U.S. Justice Department finally came to Detroit and imposed two “consent agreements” on the Detroit Police Department to address use of force and deaths in prison jails. They also required the DPD to install dashcam videos on police cars. Later, it was revealed that only 15 percent of the videocameras were operational, as police went on killing.
The Grables and the DCAPB continued mobilizing, holding weekly meetings and frequent protests.
But the broad publicity about police killings ceased, as the mainstream media assumed the DOJ would bring about a change. It did not happen.
The DPD kept on killing and brutalizing residents. One of the cases involved was that of Cornell Squires, brutally beaten by Detroit cop Robert Feld. When he protested to the Police Commission, Squires’ son and cousins were framed up, and his son was falsely convicted and imprisoned. The children of Arnetta Grable were also targeted by police, with her other son facing constant harassment and eventual false imprisonment.
A partial listing of police killings of Detroiters from 1992 to 2016 was displayed on a poster at the memorial, compiled from stories collected from the Michigan Citizen and the Voice of Detroit. NO DETROIT COP HAS EVER BEEN CHARGED OR JAILED BY WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY FOR MURDER.
Even Joseph Weekley, who killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones in a vicious made-for-TV military-style raid of her home May 16, 2010, was indicted on involuntary manslaughter and firearms charges by a “grand jury” composed of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny, chief of the court’s criminal division.
To read seven-page list of killings of Detroiters by police, go to http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DETROITERS-KILLED-BY-POLICE-SINCE-1992-edited-1.pdf/
At the conclusion of the memorial, protesters gathered in prayer, then released white, red and black balloons into the skies to remember Lamar and condemn officer Eugene Brown and other killer cops.
The idea for the sky banner for Lamar Grable was inspired by that flown by the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee on the first-year anniversary of her death, on May 16, 2011. The company Traffic Displays (contact #616-225-8865 and ask for Cynthia or Jason) made and flew both banners.
The Grable banner was flown over the site of his murder, then over Eugene Brown’s house near Mack and Burns, then to downtown Detroit over the Frank Murphy Hall. Aiyana’s banner was flown over the house where she was killed on Lillibridge near Mack, then downtown over police headquarters.
Michigan Citizen stories by Diane Bukowski on Eugene Brown:
Detroit Free Press articles on Detroit police in 2000: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Detroit-cops-are-deadliest-in-U-S-1.pdf
Related from VOD: stories cited below on cases listed in “Detroiters killed by police from 1992-2016” are only a sampling of VOD’s coverage. To see more, put the names of those killed or framed by police into our search engine.
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